Iain Banks, the author that heroically conquered the separate worlds of fiction as well as science-fiction, is fighting a losing battle . The 59-year-old Scottish novelist, who built up a huge following, has officially left the literary world after finding out he has terminal cancer and has only have a few months to live. In an emotional personal statement that, much like his books, balances on the thin line between tragedy and comedy, Bank stated that his next novel will be his last. Shock is felt across the world by fans and fellow writers as Banks is not only considered a remarkable writer, but an “excellent guy“. Here’s what you should know about this legendary Scotsman.
1. He was diagnosed with Late-Stage Gallbladder Cancer
The author began to feel back-pains recently and believed it was due to all those hours he spent crouched over his keyboard. Unfortunately, it wasn’t his posture. It was cancer that originated in his gallbladder. Although the gallbladder, is in most cases, easily removable, the cancer had already spread to other organs in his body making surgery useless.
I have cancer. It started in my gall bladder, has infected both lobes of my liver and probably also my pancreas and some lymph nodes, plus one tumour is massed around a group of major blood vessels in the same volume, effectively ruling out any chance of surgery to remove the tumours either in the short or long term.
As explained in his eloquently written published personal statement, the prolific writer is still weighing the pros and cons of chemotherapy to extend his life.
2. There is a Website Where Fans and Friends Can Say Their Goodbyes
Very sad news about renowned science fiction author Iain Banks – friends.banksophilia.com
— Craig Engler (@Syfy) April 3, 2013
A website is being set up where friends, family and fans can leave messages for me and check on my progress. It should be up and running during this week and a link to it will be here on my official website as soon as it’s ready.
3. He was named one of the 50 greatest British writers
In 2008, he was named one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945 in a list compiled by The Times of London.
4. He Adopted A Middle Name
When he began writing science-fiction the novelist added the initial of his adopted middle name Menzies for his science fiction books (Iain M. Banks). Another person to adopt the name is Walter Menzies Campbell, former leader of the Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom
5. He Has Published 24 Books
Banks rose to fame in 1984 with his first novel “The Wasp Factory”, the dark tale of a Scottish teenager who murders three children in his family before he is ten. Banks was only 30. His first science fiction book, Consider Phlebas was published and well-recieved in 1987. His publishers are working hard to bring forward the publication date of his latest work, “The Quarry” to give him a better chance of seeing it on the shelves before he dies.
6. He Set Most of His Sci-Fi Books in a World Called ‘The Culture’
Banks’ favorite genre is science fiction as it gives him the greatest level of creative liberty.Banks created a complex world for his sci-fi publications called “The Culture”. This alternate reality is a semi-anarchist utopia consisting of various humanoid races and managed by very advanced artificial intelligences. Iain Banks posted a long (yet eminently readable and funny) description of the Culture universe, which is worth reading
7. His Book ‘Crow Road’ Was Adapted Into a Television Series
Crow Road, a novel about a man and his preoccupations with death, sex unrequited love, family issues and intoxicants, was adapted into a BBC television series in 1996.
8. His Mom Was a Figure Skater
The gifted-writer’s parents were had remarkably different careers. His mother was a professional ice skater and his father was an officer in the British Navy. He has told The Independent that he had a “very happy childhood” and acquired a nautical gait from his father and balance from his mother.
9. Banks Married His Girlfriend After Being Diagnosed
Although he and his partner Adele Hartley have been together since 2006, the author decided to make it official once her heard the news of his precarious condition. He is currently on his honeymoon. It looks as though the couple shares a peculiar interest in horror. Adele is actually the founder and director of Scotland’s internationally recognized horror film festival “Dead by Dawn”
10. He Wanted to Impeach Tony Blair
Iain Banks was both a writer as well as a historically-aware and politically active Scotsman. Banks was a member of a group of British politicians and media figures who campaigned to have Prime Minister Tony Blair impeached after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Banks is also an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society as well as staunch supporter of the Humanist Society of Scotland. He has also spoken out in support of Scottish independence.